THE Department of Infrastructure is ‘considering all action open to it’ over the failure of the Fenella Footbridge in Peel, as preparations to permanently repair its faults are made.
The intention is to lift the bridge onto the quayside on Monday so it can be repaired between then and April 21. The aim is to have it back in operation by Easter.
In May 2009 and again in June 2010 the bridge over Peel harbour experienced a failure in the main slewing bearing assembly. DoI staff, in consultation with the bridge designer, formulated and installed a temporary repair in order that the bridge could continue in operation, albeit at a reduced and controlled frequency.
When the bearing assembly failed for a second time the department commissioned an independent investigation into the circumstances of the failure and invited recommendations in relation to a permanent repair.
David Callister MLC, DoI member for harbours, said: ‘It is very regrettable that there have been problems with the bridge. However, this work will correct the problems.
‘The department is already considering all action open to it following the outcome of the independent investigation into the circumstances of the failure of the bearing assembly.’
The repair will require the bridge, which was installed in 2006, to be lifted onto the quay to enable the slewing mechanism to be removed and modified. While the work is under way, and without any additional delay being incurred, the opportunity will be taken to maintain the main structure of the bridge as part of a normal scheduled maintenance programme.
Additionally, while the cranes are on site, necessary inspection and minor maintenance work will be undertaken on the flap gate. This work will be carried out, weather permitting, between high water (12.40pm) on March 8 and high water (2.16pm) on March 10. The work will involve putting in place two large steel barriers on one side of the gate by crane to create a safe working environment. During the time that they are in place, it will not be possible for vessels to enter or leave the inner harbour. Otherwise harbour operations will not be affected by the removal of the bridge although there will be inconvenience to pedestrians. There will be an impact on the harbour due to the inspection of the flap gate but this will be kept to a minimum.
The DoI has apologised in advance for any inconvenience caused.